The game forces new players to start out on the Federation side, picking one of eight established races and nine more unlockable ones to start with and play up to Lv25. Then the Klingon side of the game opens, offering five established races and four more unlockable ones.
Also, for those who want to be creative, the game has an 'Alien' race to allow players to make any sort of character they'd like for either side.
From there, players choose a career. These careers are shared by your NPC Bridge Officers who come along on away teams.
The main damage-dealers of the game. They use a mix of melee moves, grenades and sneakiness to take down enemies on land while blowing up ships in space quicker with special attack moves and weapon overkill.
The masters of keeping themselves and their ships alive if a bit broken. Their ground abilities involve jamming their enemies' weapons and dropping stuff like shield generators, turrets and phaser blasts from high orbit while their space skills let them heal their own ships as well as others.
The most mage-y of the three careers. On the ground, they handle both regular science and doctoring such as healing hurt teammates and stunning enemies before they can act while in space they pull off technobabble skills like draining enemy ships' shields, hacking their computers or knocking crowds of them away with photonic shockwaves.
It doesn't end there as there's basically three different types of ships to roll with once you get a command. Each have slots for your Bridge Officers to lend their space abilities alongside yours'.
The steady workhorse of the fleet. Not the fastest ship but tough to kill with it's strong hulls. Oriented for Engineers.
Speedy death-dealers. They can bring a ship down quick but are also easily killed if one's not careful. Oriented for Tactical.
The in-betweeners when it comes to their stat-standings alongside the ships above. They bring special abilities that allow players to target certain systems of enemy ships. Oriented for Science.
The Klingon ships are mostly the same but forgo proper Science Vessels for Birds Of Prey which bring universal Bridge Officer slots to fill with whatever mix you'd like.
Besides the Bridge Officers, there's also the Duty Officers who come in the same career flavors as well as civilian ones like traders and diplomats. With the Duty Officer system, you send these extras out on little assignments that bring multiple rewards besides cash and experiance if you choose the right people for the job, said jobs ranging from 30 minutes to two whole days to complete. Choosing poorly ramps up the redshirt-factor of the system, putting them out of commission in sickbay for a couple of days if not outright death.